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EPA Reviewing Weed Killer

Oct 8, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is re-evaluating health outcomes linked to a commonly used pesticide, atrazine, that has been discovered in drinking water, said the Associated Press (AP). Atrazine is typically used on corn and other crops.

The AP noted that, based on research, rainstorm runoff can contaminate streams and rivers, contaminated water systems. The EPA looked at 150 drinking water systems in America’s Midwest because that is where the chemical is used most frequently, said the AP. The EPA has not detected atrazine at the levels that would prompt adverse health problems, such as cancer; however, emerging studies indicate that even at lower levels, atrazine’s presence in drinking water can result in “low birth weights, birth defects and reproductive problems,” said the AP.

In 2003, under the Bush administration, the EPA allowed atrazine to continue to be used with few restrictions. This is not the first time the former presidential administration has allowed use of dangerous toxins in the environment. Earlier this year, we wrote about how information pointing to “significantly higher cancer risks” for those living near coal-fired power plant ash dumps was allegedly covered up by the recent Bush Administration, citing a report by EnvironmentalIntegrity.org.

"We are taking a hard look at the decision made by the previous administration on atrazine," said Steve Owens, an assistant administrator, in a statement released Wednesday, quoted the AP. "Our examination of atrazine will ... help determine whether a change in EPA's regulatory position on this pesticide is appropriate," Owens added.

Environmental advocates are hoping the review will enable phase-out of atrazine and drinking water system operators from a variety of states have sued manufacturers in the hope of getting the chemical out of the water systems, noted the AP. Despite emerging evidence Syngenta, considered the largest maker of atrazine, defends its safety, reported the AP.

We have long been following links between pesticides and herbicides and adverse medical effects across various demographics. We recently wrote that another study found a link between pediatric cancer and household pesticides. That research discovered the associations occurred in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer that generally develops when children are between three and seven years of age, said ScienceDaily, previously. Prior research also pointed to links between pesticides and childhood cancers

Earlier this year we wrote about links between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease and prior to that we also wrote that researchers said that pesticide exposure might also be linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s disease risks.

Reuters also previously reported that the results of a study of 319 Parkinson’s patients and 200 nonParkinson’s-affected relatives found that people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are more than two times likelier to report pesticide exposure over people not diagnosed with the disease.


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